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Brick

Brick

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag - Alan Bradley Second in the series, again a lot of fun, another English Manor mystery set in the early '50s, with a precocious 11 year old heroine, Flavia. Flavia is an autodidact chemist, and an amateur sleuth, who solves a contemporary murder mystery and a 5 year old mystery at once. The story follows the first of the series a short time later, deepening the characters and showing the remarkable relationships that Flavia has formed with the surrounding community. This story shows Flavia dealing with a more puzzling set of mysteries, although she is not personally imperiled as in the first story, she remains persistently curious and solves things at the end, as the author kept me puzzled throughout.

Both of these stories are particularly enjoyable for making me feel as if I have begun to know the members of Flavia's community, and to appreciate the sense of the post-war countryside of England. Flavia's observations of her family, friends, and neighbors are very funny, often bitingly funny, but a warmth between them seems to show through more often this time. The description of the puppet show is superb, leaving me feeling that I was more than lucky to have read it as to have seen it.